Mexico City seen from above—photo by Pablo Lopez Luz
More than seven billion people live on planet Earth right now, and each of them is as important as you are. I haven’t checked his math, but Gabor Zovanyi of Eastern Washington University has something sobering to say about population growth:
“If our species had started with just two people at the time of the earliest agricultural practices some 10,000 years ago, and increased by one percent per year, today humanity would be a solid ball of flesh many thousand light years in diameter, and expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would be many times faster than the speed of light.”
To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, I suppose they will all want dignity. Today is Friday, and your rights end where my nose begins. Won’t you find yourself enclosed in a thicket of sharp elbows with me?
Arkansas House member and sponsor of religious freedom Rep. Bob Ballinger (not pictured: puppets)
I’m not saying that if a wizard transformed all the members of the Arkansas House of Representatives into animals, Rep. Bob Ballinger (R–Berryville) would be a walrus who goes “harrumph!” But he wouldn’t be a mallard, would he? That’s because a mallard is gay, and Ballinger sponsored the religious freedom law that Arkansas passed yesterday. That law is totally not designed to let businesses refuse service to homosexuals. That would be discrimination, and that’s not what Ballinger is about. Earlier this session, however, he did sponsor another bill that forbid Arkansas towns and cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances protecting gays and lesbians. But that’s a coincidence, owing to the widespread discrimination against Christians in America and the comparative absence of bias against gay people. Here’s Ballinger explaining to the Times why he didn’t think to clarify that his bill wasn’t about anti-gay discrimination:
“All the way through this I thought it was unnecessary because of the fact that it didn’t do everything that everybody was saying it was doing. In hindsight maybe I would have done it to maybe avoid all the pain.”
He said that a few minutes after the bill passed.
A hue and cry has risen against Indiana since Governor Mike Pence signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which exempts individuals from laws that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Critics say it amounts to legalizing discrimination against homosexuals. Pence called that claim “a smear” and insists the law merely reiterates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. In the interview with George Stephanopoulos above, however, the governor refused to say whether it would be legal for a Christian florist in Indiana to refuse to serve a gay wedding. He refused repeatedly. Stephanopoulos’s vain attempt to get him to answer yes or no begins around 1:25 and continues for four minutes, during which Pence hedges like a damn juniper. He simply will not say whether Indiana’s bill legalizes discrimination.